Ex-Nashville mayor who used taxpayer dollars to carry on affair launches bid to unseat House Republican

Former Democratic Nashville Mayor Megan Barry on Wednesday announced a U.S. House bid to unseat Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., seeking a political comeback more than five years after she faced now-dismissed criminal charges linked to her having an extramarital affair with her city-employed bodyguard.  In her announcement video, she cited several reasons for trying to return to elected office: a spate of mass shootings at schools, including earlier this year at a Nashville Christian elementary school, which was carried out by a transgender activist and former student; Tennessee’s abortion ban; the closure of rural hospitals; and the opioid epidemic. “Today, I’m announcing my campaign for Congress because working families have been ignored for far too long,” Barry said in a video posted on her campaign website. “We need an economy and a government that works for everyone. If I can save even one other parent from burying a child, it will be worth every effort.” Barry, elected in 2015 as the first female mayor of Nashville, resigned from that office in 2018 after pleading guilty to felony theft for cheating the city out of thousands of dollars to carry on a nearly two-year affair with her then-police bodyguard, Sgt. Rob Forrest. She agreed to reimburse the city for $11,000 in unlawful expenses. After completing three years of unsupervised probation, the charge was expunged from her record in 2021, according to The Tennessean.  NASHVILLE POLICE SAY 7 ON ADMIN ASSIGNMENT AFTER PURPORTED LEAK OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOL SHOOTER’S MANIFESTO In the video, Barry said she had “made mistakes,” but she took responsibility and worked through them with her husband. “I don’t think anybody should be defined by their worst moments,” Barry said. “It’s what you do next that counts.” She is running in one of three congressional districts that carved up Nashville during Republican-led redistricting last year.  Due to line-drawing efforts by Republican state lawmakers that favor their own party, the GOP last year won another seat that previously centered on Nashville and was long held by Democrats. Barry is running as a Democrat, campaign spokesperson Brian Córdova confirmed to the Associated Press.  “I look at the total dysfunction in Congress and its failure to make any kind of difference in the lives of our families,” Barry said. “It’s outrageous. We don’t have to tolerate it.” Barry’s announcement also focuses on the death of her only child, Max, who died in July 2017 after an overdose of a combination of drugs, including opioids. Since leaving office, Barry has widely shared her son’s story in an effort to combat shame and stigma surrounding substance abuse disorders. NASHVILLE KILLER AUDREY HALE SLEPT WITH JOURNALS ON SCHOOL SHOOTINGS UNDER BED, COURT DOCS REVEAL Barry will try to make inroads in a district that extends out of Nashville and into 13 Republican-favoring counties. Last year, Green won his third term in Congress over a Democratic opponent by nearly 22 percentage points. Voters in that district favored former President Trump over President Biden by 15 percentage points in 2020. Tennessee’s congressional map is facing a federal lawsuit, but that case isn’t scheduled to go to trial until April 2025. After Barry’s announcement, Green’s team said that he is “honored to serve and looks forward to continuing to fight for our values and principles,” mentioning securing the border, health care and “constitutional rights.” “From three tours in combat, to the emergency room, to public service, Congressman Green has always put his fellow American before himself,” Green’s chief of staff, Stephen Siao, said in a written statement. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
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